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Friday, October 05, 2018
October 5, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:20 PM :: 920 Views

Supreme Court to Hear Counties’ Challenge to HSTA Rent tax

Constitutional Amendment Ballot Measure Will Raise Cost of Living -- Funds may not go to Public Education

UH Glyphosate Study Debunked--Bee Death Story Is Bee-S

Teach Your Children

The Grievance Studies Scandal Isn’t Just A Problem For Academia

Tax Hike on Renters? HSTA Trots out old Front Groups

Harvard: Wind Farms Cause Global Warming

Hawaii 3rd Richest State Per Capita 

Election Countdown--Dates to Remember

Renters Bristle at Prospect of HSTA Tax Hike

KHON: …People opposed to the amendment says the language is raising red flags, including other county mayors who collect property tax.

"The question is this to me," Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim, said. "Should you put a constitutional amendment to take away the authority of property tax that county governments have, and to raise it as much as 20 to 30 percent, or 25 percent across the board? I don't care who you are, you will be effected one way or the other."

Everyday folks bristle at the prospect of a new tax.

"I've been a renter for almost 8-years," Chelsea Teano of Mililani, said. "I'm very familiar with rent increases. It's very very nerve wracking when the lease comes up." Teano goes on to say, "It's really scary, we're trying to establish ourselves as a family, being able to afford our own home, but how can we when the cost of living keeps sky rocketing?"….

CB: The Affordable Hawaii Coalition is airing two ads

read … Scary

Council’s Latest Affordable Housing Solution: Jail Builders

SA: …Ignoring a city order to halt construction due to building or land-use violations could land a contractor or property owner in jail under a bill passed unanimously by the Honolulu City Council Wednesday.

Bill 60 makes it a misdemeanor for a person or company to ignore a stop-work order issued by the Department of Planning and Permitting. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000 and one year in jail “for each and every day or portion thereof during which the violation is committed, continued or permitted.”….

(DPP can’t get its act together so we will jail builders.  Typical.)

It’s unclear if Mayor Kirk Caldwell will sign the bill.

The bill was introduced by Council Chairman Ernie Martin amid an uproar over large-scale “monster houses,”…

Submitting testimony in support of the bill Wednesday were the Building Industry Association of Hawaii….

read … New law could put building violators in jail

Honolulu permit delays force Oahu contractors to lay off staff, organize coalition

PBN: …Honolulu’s permitting process has slowed to a point that it is turning what should be a boom time for homebuilding into a crisis, forcing general contractors to lay off staff and idle subcontractors — and organize as a team of rivals seeking solutions from the city.

Contractors are routinely having to wait nine to 12 months for the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Permitting and Planning to issue permits for remodels, additions and new construction, are spending eight times as much money on the process and are having to let staff go while they are waiting to start work, Marshall Hickox, president of Homeworks Construction and president-elect of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii, told Pacific Business News.

Other municipalities on the Mainland complain when their permitting process takes up to six to eight weeks, said Hickox, who said the current permitting time is the slowest he’s seen in more than 20 years as a general contractor on Oahu.

Even permits for accessory dwelling units, which by law must be issued within 60 days, are taking twice that amount of time, he said.

“We’re bracing for a pretty massive slowdown in work, and yes, there are going to be layoffs,” said Hickox, who had to lay off a project manager’s assistant last week, one of 10 people he had on staff at Homeworks’ office on S. Beretania Street.

Other contractors have also had to lay off staff, and Hickox has fielded calls from subcontractors wondering why they haven’t been hired for jobs.

“There’s a tipping point – we builders are now able to look and see there’s a cliff coming,” he said. “The most aggravating part is these are great times, the economy is booming.”

Kathy Sokugawa, acting director of the Department of Planning and Permitting, said permits for residential projects are taking an average of 150 working days to issue, which means a permit application filed on Oct. 1 would be issued in early May….

Hickox sat down with a handful of competitors last week from Atlas Construction, HK Construction, Complete Construction and Graham Builders to form the Oahu Homebuilders Coalition — Permitting Now, with a mission statement of “commitment to a better process for permitting and responsible construction.” Hickox expects more contractors, especially members of BIA Hawaii, to join the group.

The contractors plan to close down their businesses for a day to rally outside Honolulu Hale later this month to alert the Honolulu City Council and the City and County of Honolulu government to the problem.

“We don’t feel that the normal process is going to be adequate enough to keep the industry supported,” he said “We feel there needs to be emergency legislation or a moratorium. We’re all raising our hands and saying we’ll take responsibility.”

The problem has already caught the attention of Council Member Kymberly Marcos Pine, who last week introduced Resolution 18-208 to create a group of council members to investigate the delays at the DPP. The full council adopted the resolution at Wednesday’s meeting in Kapolei….

read … Honolulu permit delays force Oahu contractors to lay off staff, organize coalition

Losers Beat Winner: HGEA/UPW Resistance, Meddling Councilmembers Drive Out Hawaii Co Transit Boss

HTH: … The disarray at the county Mass Transit Agency continues with the resignation of Administrator Maria “Sole” Aranguiz.

Aranguiz is leaving Mass Transit on Oct. 26 after only eight months on the job. The civil service position pays $70,644 to $130,152 annually.

… Kim on Thursday praised Aranguiz’ can-do attitude in the face of resistance from some workers and county officials.

“She did different things to make do with what she had,” Kim said. “We lost a winner.”

A no-nonsense administrator, Aranguiz took over a department plagued with broken-down buses, inconsistent bus arrivals and a critical audit that found mismanaged cash. Those problems already existed when she took over.

Cash-handling was so lax, the legislative auditor couldn’t tell if any money was missing, much less how much….

The theft of a bus not once, but twice by the same suspect, didn’t help raise the agency’s reputation….

Aranguiz took over from Tiffany Kai, who was moved to paratransit coordinator. Kim said Kai is not interested in the position.

Kim previously brought in retired Marine Curtis Sharp at $9,584 month to trouble-shoot and manage the agency until Aranguiz was hired. Sharp was disqualified from running for the permanent position, as he didn’t have the required public transit experience.

Aranguiz had stated her first priority was to get buses back on the road and improve customer service.

Employees have grumbled to the newspaper about Aranguiz’ management style, but none wanted their names used.

One of her first actions was to open a small office at the county building in Hilo, where two employees address disabled riders’ concerns, answer questions and sell bus tickets and coupons. The goal was to bring the transit system to the people.

But Aranguiz’ outspoken manner cost her support on the County Council, especially that of Kohala Councilman Tim Richards, who repeatedly tried to gut her budget and scolded her for not initially embracing the $500,000 transit master plan and not being more responsive to his district….

Also Announced Today: HGEA Claims Another Pelt: DOCARE Chief Quits

WHT: Council: No more second-hand buses

read … Losers Beat Winner

DoH Plan to Save Oahu’s Lowest-Cost Energy Producer?

IM: … The Department of Health is currently considering 13 greenhouse gas partnering agreements, whereby all commercial electric generation facilities will combine their greenhouse gas emissions to fit under a global regulatory ceiling. 

Thus emitters well below their regulatory emission ceiling can fill their emission allowance with those that exceed their limit. This will enable the AES coal plant to continue to pollute.

Seeking public input, the Department of Health will circulate the partnering draft permit later this year or early 2019….

HTH: Ige Emergency Proclamation pushes back work on PGV

read … Green Energy Isn`t Always Green

DoE Bureaucratic Apple Polishing: Bullying to be More Serious Offence than ‘Hazing’? 

HNN: …As it faces a class-action lawsuit over allegations it’s “deliberately” indifferent to bullying victims, the state Education Department is eyeing significant policy changes that would re-classify bullying as a major offense — subject to greater penalties. 

(Translation: They really don’t have a plan so they check a bureaucratic box to make it look like they’re doing something.)

Under a proposal approved by the Board of Education on Thursday, bullying and cyber-bullying would be reclassified from a Class B to a Class A offense for students in grades 7 to 12.

Other Class A offenses: Assault, bringing a weapon to school, fighting, and property damage.

Examples of Class B offenses include disorderly conduct, forgery, gambling and hazing…

The new rules don’t specify what punishments students would see for bullying.

But the DOE said school administrators take five factors into account when determining disciplinary action: Intention, nature and severity, impact on others, age of student and prior misbehavior.

Now that the rules are approved, they’ll be sent out for a public hearing….

read … Under fire for its handling of bullying, DOE considers tougher stance

Should Public Have More Input On Legislature’s Sexual Harassment Policies?

CB: …Six months after Hawaii House Speaker Scott Saiki pledged to revamp the chamber’s sexual harassment policy, he sent a letter last week to House members and staff asking for feedback on the existing rules.

The speaker announced the three members of the House working group reviewing the policy on May 9 and estimates they met about three times since then. He expects to get draft recommendations by the general election and have a final plan by the time the Legislature opens in January….

the House working group includes Robin Wurtzel, chief counsel at the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission. The other members include Janna Nakagawa, executive vice president at Hawaii Medical Services Association, and Ryan Sanada, director of legal and government affairs at Hawaii Employers Council.

The House’s process for revamping its policy appears to involve broader input thus far than the Senate’s parallel efforts.

Instead of appointing a working group, Senate President Ronald Kouchi from Kauai says he asked local attorney Sarah Wang to review the policy and make recommendations.

The Senate’s sexual harassment policy is much better than the House’s and was even lauded by the National Conference of State Legislatures as a model….

Kouchi says he expects to see draft recommendations next month and will discuss them in caucus — a private meeting of the Democratic majority —  before voting on them in January….

Background:

read … Should Public Have More Input On Legislature’s Sexual Harassment Policies?

Former student says he wasn’t immediately told he’d been spied upon

SA:…A former Kamehameha Schools student, who was secretly recorded showering in a teacher’s faculty apartment, testified in state court Wednesday that he didn’t know his privacy had been violated until a month after school officials told students that the teacher was “leaving” the school.

Shane-Justin Nuuhiwa said police invited him to Honolulu Police Department headquarters where a detective showed him some video clips and asked him to identify the person in the video clips showering naked.

“I recognized that person to be me,” Nuuhiwa said….

That was in April 2013 when Nuuhiwa, now 24, was a Kamehameha Schools senior and a member of the school’s speech and debate team. He’s testifying as a prosecution witness in the trial of former speech teacher and debate team coach Gabriel Alisna, who is charged with five counts of invasion of privacy involving three male students.

Nuuhiwa said police showed him five video clips. He said three clips, each about five minutes long, show him showering. The other two are each less than five seconds long. Nuuhiwa said one shows Alisna appearing to adjust the camera, after it’s turned on. He said the other shows Alisna moving the camera from the shower into a dark room….

Nuuhiwa said he first learned of something involving Alisna in March 2013, after school administrators met with the speech and debate team’s student leaders. School officials told the student leaders that Alisna was leaving the school and encouraged them to contact him to show their support.

He said he learned the next day that Alisna had been fired over some pictures after the administrators met with parents and guardians. He said he was not told the nature of the pictures or who was in them. Then he said school officials met with the members of the debate team offering them counseling, still without telling them why Alisna was fired.

Kamehameha agreed in July to pay $5 million to the families of four students, including Nuuhiwa’s family, who sued over the school administrators’ handling of the affair. The families’ lawyer, Michael Green, said administrators had the shower videos in their possession when they encouraged students to contact and meet Alisna without knowing who was in the videos….

read … Former student says he wasn’t immediately told he’d been spied upon

Sec 8 Designed to Push Mentally Ill Back onto Streets

SA: … Recently my son lost his Waikiki apartment. He has been diagnosed with severe mental illness and is on disability.

He had been homeless off and on for about two years when his case worker helped him get a Section 8 housing voucher. He was so happy to have his own place and hope for his future.

Apparently Section 8 has one standard for all, and he couldn’t live up to the rigorous inspection requirements. They took away his benefit and a week later he was homeless and back on the streets….

Cataluna: Sidewalk laws should be fair to all

read … Keeping the Homeless Homeless

Soft on Crazy: Schizo Criminal with Log Rap Sheet Escapes Mental Hospital

HNN: …Kauai Police have put out a request to the public, asking to help find Richard Leibman.

He earned the nickname because he had a long beard and would wear a robe. He has a long rap sheet, including burglary, theft, and escape.

Two years ago, Leibman ran off from the Hawaii State Hospital.

The Garden Island reports that he has schizophrenia and a personality disorder.

Right now, he’s reportedly wanted on three bench warrants.

Authorities say he’s often in the Princeville and the North Shore area….

read … Kauai’s ‘Jesus Bandit’ is on the run again

Drug testing catches fewer isle workers

SA: …Diagnostic Laboratory Services reported Thursday that positive tests for amphetamines, opiates, cocaine, marijuana and synthetic urine all plunged around 30 percent in the July-September period compared with the same quarter a year ago or the second quarter, or both.

Large swings up or down in drug test results are not uncommon, but Steven Brimmer, scientific director of toxicology at DLS, said it was surprising to see such a big decrease across all drug categories….

read … Fewer

No Con Con PAC Pops Up After Reporting Deadline

CCI: …October 1, 2018. Hawaii’s Campaign Spending Commission issues its first report on ballot issue expenditures and reports no expenditures on the convention issue through September 26, the end of the reporting period. NoConCon.org is publicly announced four days after the end of that period. Preserve Our Hawaii, the only registered entity, reports no receipts or expenditures….

read … Con Con Info

Youth voter registration slightly declines in Hawaii, report finds

HNN: …Eleven states and the District of Columbia saw their youth voter registration numbers decline since the Parkland shooting. Hawaii, for example, experienced a minute decline of just 0.43 percent. West Virginia, however, saw the largest decline with more than a 10 percent drop….

read … Youth voter registration slightly declines in Hawaii, report finds

High bacteria count at Waikiki beach: 'Swimming may make you ill'

AP: …The Hawaii State Department of Health issued a bacteria advisory Thursday for Kuhio Beach in Waikiki and the Diamond Head side of Ala Moana Beach Park.

Routine beach monitoring at Kuhio Beach in Waikiki revealed levels of 945 per 100 milliliters of enterococci, beyond the threshold of 130. Levels of 164 per 100 milliliters of enterococci were also detected at Ala Moana….

read .. High bacteria count at Waikiki beach: 'Swimming may make you ill'

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